Lymphadenopathy is the disease or enlargement of lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are small round structures that are present all over the body. They house cells (most commonly white blood cells) that are involved in protecting the human body from infections.
Lymphadenopathy can occur due to a number of reasons:
- Infections - the most common reason
- Lymphomas and leukemias - cancers of white blood cells in the lymph nodes and blood
- Cancers in other body parts that sometimes spread to lymph nodes
- Diseases of the immune system, such as lupus and sarcoidosis
- Other uncommon diseases
The neck, armpits and groin are the body parts where enlarged lymph nodes are most easily felt. The appearance of lumps in these areas is the most common sign of lymphadenopathy.
To find out the cause of lymphadenopathy, doctors may advise tests that include a fine needle test (FNAC or a fine needle aspiration cytology) or the removal of a part or whole node (lymph node biopsy).
The treatment of lymphadenopathy depends on the reason for lymph node enlargement.